November 24, 2020
Dear Princeton Undergraduate Students,
Congratulations on completing the teaching weeks of the fall semester. You’ve now heard the news from President Eisgruber that all enrolled students are invited back to campus for the Spring 2021 semester. We’re very glad for this announcement.
We’re writing now to make sure you understand in some detail what your experience on campus will entail, should you decide to return this spring. We know that returning to campus will not be the right decision for everyone. We’ll continue to fully support remote teaching for all students who choose to continue pursuing their studies off campus.
You must declare your intention to live on campus by December 3rd at 5:00 p.m. ET by filling out the registration form at this link. We urge you to read carefully the FAQs available on the Spring 2021 website. Many of your questions will be answered there. A few important highlights:
Returning to Campus or Studying Remotely
- Students have the option to continue studying remotely if they wish. The three financial aid plans available this fall—the on-campus budget, off-campus budget, and the stay-at-home budget—will be retained for the spring.
- Students who elect to return to campus will arrive on a staggered timetable, ending January 17, to allow time for testing, move-in, and quarantine as safely as possible before the semester begins on February 1.
- All students, regardless of where they’ve been living this fall or where they’re traveling to campus from, will take part in the University’s Arrival Protocol, which includes a COVID-19 test when arriving on campus, subsequently staying in their rooms until they receive a negative result, and then a period of on-campus restrictions for the balance of the 14-day quarantine period. More information about this protocol will be out shortly.
- All students living on or near campus must be part of the University’s testing protocol.
- Some students may face significant financial hardship and/or other serious extenuating circumstances that would make it impossible to secure alternative housing until their appointed January move-in time. Those students may apply to live on campus after December 16 in Emergency Residency. The application for Emergency Residency can be found in TigerHub under “Academic Tasks.” Students now living in Emergency Residency will not move from their current rooms, except in extraordinary and necessary circumstances.
- At this time, all students residing on campus must sign up for a uniform meal plan. More information will be forthcoming.
Life on Campus
- First-year students will be assigned to single sleeping spaces in their residential college, organized by their RCA “zee” group. Housing will base sophomore, junior, and senior room assignments on last spring’s room draw. No additional room draw will be held, though some new assignments may need to be made.
- In general, the majority of professional and support staff from offices around the University will continue to work from home. Academic advising and faculty advising appointments, tutoring, and general programming will be scheduled virtually. We hope to plan more in-person activities outdoors as the weather improves.
- We understand that socializing with your peers is a high priority. While the arrival protocol will be critical for ensuring everyone’s safety, once all students have completed their travel quarantine, we hope to be able to modify restrictions if public health guidelines allow. That said, large gatherings, including parties of any sort, will be prohibited. Also remember that physical distancing and face covering rules will be in effect through the whole spring semester.
- All students residing on or near campus must abide by the Social Contract and participate in the University’s COVID-19 testing protocols.
- Given the grave public health implications of infractions, the Social Contract will be strictly enforced. Violating the terms of the Contract will have consequences that may include requiring a student to leave campus. Hosting prohibited in-person gatherings will normally result in removal from campus as well as other disciplinary action.
- Should public health conditions deteriorate during the term, students will be able to shelter in place. If conditions worsen, we don’t—as of now—plan to send all students home as we did in spring 2020.
Teaching and Learning
- Most teaching in Spring 2021 will continue to be virtual. Some courses may be offered in a hybrid format, in which students in residence learn with an instructor in a classroom and others learn remotely at the same time.
- Other courses may have in-person components that residential students may attend, such as certain precepts, faculty office hours, or the occasional demonstration or project. Faculty will make sure that students studying remotely won’t be disadvantaged.
- Unless the instructor otherwise indicates in the syllabus, assume the courses for which you’re registering will be taught remotely.
We’ve missed seeing you on our quads and walkways and have missed the rhythms and pleasures of Princeton in real life. We must remind you, however, that until a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, widely distributed, and administered, life will not be normal on campus. The safety and success of our spring plan will depend on how completely you adhere to the Social Contract and how faithfully you observe the constraints on campus life during this pandemic.
If you’d rather study from home or off campus in the spring, we understand. Our hybrid teaching and co-curricular programming will fully support that choice. We’ve encouraged all faculty and University offices to continue to be mindful of time zone differences as they plan spring courses and events. If you elect to live off campus but within or near the town of Princeton, you must sign the Social Contract and be part of our testing protocol.
If you decide you would prefer to take a leave and return in spring 2022, please complete this leave of absence form by December 3.
We know you’ll have many questions about the spring semester. Because our announcement has come earlier than expected, many plans are still being formulated. Please check the FAQs on the Spring 2021 webpage often, as we intend to update them frequently with the most current information.
University offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, from mid- to late-afternoon Wednesday, November 25, until the morning of Monday, November 30. Staff will respond to email and phone calls when we return.
In partnership with the USG, we’ve scheduled a Town Hall webinar for students on Tuesday, December 1, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. ET (registration link to follow soon). A Town Hall webinar for parents and families will be held on Wednesday, December 2, from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. ET (parents and families can register and submit questions they’d like us to consider in advance here). We’ll happily answer as many questions live as we can during those events.
We’ll continue to be in touch if the pandemic or shifting state regulations in New Jersey necessitate changes.
In the meantime, know that we’re thinking about you and that we hope your end-of-semester work goes very well indeed. We wish those of you who celebrate a safe, if altered, Thanksgiving holiday. Stay healthy.
With our very best wishes,
Jill Dolan, Dean of the College
W. Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life